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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Social Politicians

What place do politicians have on Twitter? The primary one (pun intended haha).

We've heard a lot of complaints about the costs of campaigns, specifically where the politicians are getting their money from. A politician likes social media for two reasons:
1. It's cheap
2. With the help of your Facebook fan list, Facebook offers a highly targeted ad to a highly targeted audience.

Recent research shows that Facebook users may become resentful of the presence of big business on Facebook. The degree to which a politician is considered a big business or a representative thereof has yet to be seen. However, the study did find that young users in particular were open to brands which they felt represented themselves. The takeaway? A politician's ad on Facebook is more likely to be accepted by young users if they seem to be "one of the in crowd"...aka youthful, earthy, and not corporately oriented.

A great example of politics, via social media is Comedy Central's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear". Instead of using social media venues like YouTube and Twitter as bolsters for the campaign, they were the main vehicles of the campaign.

“It’s hard to imagine pulling something like this off where you couldn’t have the underpinnings of Twitter or Facebook to rally the people that are participating,” said Erik Flannigan, EVP of digital media at Comedy Central/Spike TV. “We want to memorialize what’s happening on the [National] Mall, not just what’s happening on stage” Flannigan said.

The goal, it seems, was to make the audience members feel not only involved, but supporters of a bigger cause. With popular spokesman like Colbert and Stewart, participants want to be involved to such a degree that they are willing to check YouTube and further, post their Rally updates on Twitter. In the end, the participants moved the movement.

Colbert and Stewart's successful combination of social media and politics speaks of promise for future use in more serious issues.

Like using Twitter as a learning tool for teachers and students alike :)

But what happens when the media stops making comments about our political reality? The media are supposed to provide insight into the candidates, not their budgets.

Check out Rich Media, Poor Democracy for more insight into what happens when the media forgoes its main job: to report the news, not the sensationalism.

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